Chiswick House Friends Save Painting For The Nation

Pieter Andreas Rysbrack's print will hang in the house following renovation works

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Chiswick House Friends have helped to rescue a spectacular eighteenth century view of Chiswick House.

Late in the day, it became known that the painting by Pieter Andreas Rysbrack (1684 -1748) was to be auctioned at Sotheby’s on 6 June. The initial estimate was £120,000, but the outcome was uncertain and the competition for a work of this quality was always bound to be tough.

Funding for important art purchases is hard to get in the current financial climate. English Heritage, the owner of Chiswick House and its collection, started an urgent search for organisations which might be able to help it to buy this unique view of Chiswick House seen from the south west. It is one of a set painted in about 1729, five items of which are already in the House.

At a meeting the night before the auction, Chiswick House Friends agreed to commit £15,000 in support of the bid. The search for funding went up to the wire, but the Friends’ support helped to give English Heritage bidders the backing to fight on in the auction, and the picture was finally acquired for Chiswick House at a hammer price of £200,000.

The painting now belongs to the nation. When it is hung in Chiswick House later this year after conservation work, it will add to the Villa’s international prestige, its attractiveness for tourism to Hounslow and its value as an asset to the whole community.

Chairman of Chiswick House Friends George Nissen said, “I congratulate all concerned on this splendid success. If, as is likely, the Friends’ support helped to tip the balance at the auction, it shows yet again how much a dedicated group of local supporters can achieve. Chiswick House Friends have done a lot for Chiswick House and Gardens over the last twenty years. Their fund-raising efforts have made a real difference to this vital local asset. Our membership has doubled in recent years. We hope that this new success will encourage even more local people to join us.”

Pieter Andreas Rysbrack was a Flemish painter renowned for his topographical landscapes and country-house portraits. His two sets of prints of Chiswick House Gardens (c.1729) were commissioned by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, were an influential contribution to the vogue during the second quarter of the 18th century for sets of garden views.

June 14, 2007